‘Line of Duty’ Finale Breaks Modern U.K. Viewing Records for BBC Global Bulletin

In today’s Global Bulletin, “Line of Duty” finale dashes decades-old TV records in the U.K.; Netflix embarks on production of “1899” from the creators of “Dark”; and Purin Pictures announces 2021 funding recipients in Southeast Asia.

RATINGS

BBC’sLine of Duty” finished its sixth season with a record-breaking viewership performance of 12.8 million overnight viewers for a 56.2% share. The numbers dwarf last week’s series record of 11 million overnights, or a 51.7% share.

Putting those numbers into context, the BBC said it was the most watched episode of any drama since modern records began in 2002, not including soaps. To find something comparable, one must go back to February 2001 when ITV’sHeartbeat” pulled an overnight audience of 13.2 million. Considering two decades of changing viewing habits and the introduction of streaming platforms, “Line of Duty’s” numbers are all the more impressive.

“Line of Duty” is created by Jed Mercurio and produced by World Productions. The series goes behind the scenes of the controversial police anti-corruption unit AC-12, which investigates crimes within the police force. Last night’s finale was among the series’ most highly-anticipated episodes as it was teased that criminal mastermind H would have their identity revealed.

“Line of Duty” is available exclusively on BritBox in the U.S. and Canada. All episodes are available on BBC iPlayer to stream as a boxset in the U.K.

PRODUCTION

Netflix has kicked off production on “1899,” a new period drama from “Dark” creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar produced at their recently launched company Dark Ways. Netflix also launched an eerie teaser to mark the occasion.

Described as a “truly European series” by Friese, “1899” takes place on an immigrant ship crossing the Atlantic. The actors in the ensemble cast, assembled from across Europe, will each speak their native languages as their characters embark on a hopeful voyage of rebirth in a new land. Things quickly become nightmarish however when they come across an adrift ship missing for months.

To pull off the 19th century look and feel, production will make heavy use of a newly built virtual production stage featuring the largest LED volume of its kind in Europe. Netflix backed the construction of the facility which is owned by Dark Bay, a company set up by Dark Ways and Berlin’s Studio Babelsberg, the world’s oldest large-scale film studio.

FILM FUND

Purin Pictures, a non-profit film fund that supports independent cinema in Southeast Asia, has unveiled the recipients of its Spring 2021 funding round. Four projects will share $105,000 of production grants ($30,000 in cash for fiction, $15,000 for documentaries). All are first films. They are: experimental documentary “Monisme,” directed by Riar Rizaldi, and produced by B. M. Anggana, through Indonesian company New Pessimism; feature film “Oasis of Now,” to be directed by Chia Chee Sum,  and produced by Lee Yve Vonn through Malaysia’s Afternoon Pictures; “Pierce” a drama about an schoolboy trying to rekindle his relationship with an ex-con older brother, directed by Nelicia Low and produced by Jeremy Chua, Sam Chua and Patrick Mao Huang, through Singapore‘s Potocol ; and “Children of the Mist,” directed by Ha Le Diem and produced by Thao Tran Phuong, through Varan Vietnam. – Patrick Frater

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